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Everything that changes in Germany in May 2021

Rachel Stern
Rachel Stern - [email protected]
Everything that changes in Germany in May 2021
A woman walks past a clock in Bremen in April. Photo: DPA/Sina Schuldt

From a new 'vaccine passport' to extra cash for parents, there are a lot of changes coming to Germany starting on Saturday May 1st.


Higher minimum wage for skilled trades

Starting on May 1st, painters and varnishers can look forward to a higher minimum wage. For unskilled workers in these fields, the minimum wage will rise to 11.40, and for skilled workers that amount goes up to 13.80. The new standard is set to apply until May 31st 2022, when wages will again be up for discussion. 

Better protection for young people online

Germany’s new ‘Youth Protection Act’ (Jugendschutzgesetz), which comes into effect on Saturday, obliges major providers of games and films on the Internet to take technical precautions for greater protection of children and young people. 


The platforms must now offer simple reporting and complaint options in the event that young users feel threatened, harassed, or harassed by strangers. This includes bullying, sexual harassment, tracking or cost traps. Uniform age labels for online content will also be required so that parents can have better insight into the products their kids are using.

Child ‘corona bonus’

Families will again receive a ‘Kinderbonus’ in 2021, as they also did in 2020 amid the coronavirus crisis. For each child entitled to the benefit in May 2021, a one-off amount of an additional 150 will be paid out.

Photo: DPA

The Kinderbonus is part of the billions in aid to cushion the impact of the crisis. Last year, 300 was paid per child in a bid to boost consumption. 


New toy directives come into force in Germany in May

From May 21st, the EU will set new strict limits on the amount of aluminum and formaldehyde that can go into toys. The substances may then only be used in small quantities for processing and production. 

Comdirect abolishes unconditional checking account

Looking to open a free checking account with no strings attached? It’s still possible in Germany, but there are fewer and fewer of them. Comdirect Bank, which belongs to Commerzbank, is also saying goodbye to this model.

However, this applies not only to new customers, but as of May 1st to existing customers of the bank over 28 years-old. Yet for those who haven't yet celebrated their 28th birthday, only students, trainees and interns qualify for the free account.

READ ALSO: The complete guide to opening a bank account in Germany

Want to avoid food waste? There's an app for that

Starting on May 3rd, discounter Netto will introduce the "Too Good To Go" app - but only for its store chain with a dog in the logo, which is not part of the Edeka Group.

          Photo: DPA

With the app "Too Good To Go", you can look up and see which of the stores give away food which is still good, but  would be thrown away for various reasons. This applies to all products costing up to €3.90.

You can find the more than 300 Netto stores with dogs in the logo in Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Brandenburg, Berlin, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein and Lower Saxony.

International ‘vaccine passport’ to launch

Starting in May, the "IATA (International Air Travel Association) Travel Pass" will be the first to test travel with a vaccination certificate. The smartphone app allows travellers to store and manage certifications for Covid-19 tests or vaccinations. It aims to facilitate air travel under pandemic conditions, and help travellers avoid quarantines whenever possible. 

The data should remain under the control of the passengers, the association assures. The app is available now for iOS, and a version for Android is also expected to be available soon. 


WhatsApp releases new conditions

This change is one that has been long announced and even postponed, but now it's getting serious. The new WhatsApp GTCs will come into force on May 15th.

What does this mean for you? If you haven't agreed by this date, you won't be able to use the Messenger app for the time being.  If you're still unsure, your account will be set to "inactive" on the cutoff date.

This means that you can receive messages and calls, but you are no longer allowed to compose new messages yourself. You can do this for up to 120 days - then your account will be deleted forever.


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